• ASX 200 climbs about 0.8% on a happier day than yesterday
  • Unemployment jump to 3.7% in January eases concern over future rate rise severity
  • NSW Government’s coal policy kicks miners square in the cokers


Good afternoon, and welcome to the start of Thursday evening – a time precious to the hearts of most Australians, thanks to the ever-comforting presence of an endless stream of nearly-half-decent Aussie Blockbuster Television Dramas, which only really exist so that The Logies has more than 4 distinct categories.

Anyway – it’s been a pretty good day at the ASX today, with the benchmark moving as high as +0.95%, before settling into our normal afternoon routine of treading water just below the peak until it’s time to go home to watch your stories on Channel 7.

The overall market rise has been driven in part by an unexpected jump in unemployment figures from 3.5% to 3.7%, easing some concern over the severity of further rate rises by the RBA, that have been all-but federally mandated.

Economists, interested observers and a weird old lady with a crystal ball and a very loose grasp on the English language were predicting January would deliver about 20,000 new jobs in the market. Instead, 11,000 jobs disappeared faster than a bag of charlie in the stinkers at Randwick Racecourse.

To those of you who got canned during January, every mortgage holder in the country sends their thanks, which should hopefully lessen the pain of having to try to exist on the pocket change you’ll get from Centrelink before you selfishly drive interest rates higher by getting another job.

Sector-wise, it’s more of the same that we reported at lunchtime – some healthy earnings reporting has seen Consumer Discretionary add +2.89%, InfoTech climb +2.48%, Telcos rise +2.33% and there are more, but I’ve run out words that mean “go up” because I’m tired.

Biggest letdown of the day, however, has been the Power Twins – Utilities is down 1.14% and Energy’s gone with it, falling 0.76%. A tragic tale of love and loss that will endure through the ages. Four-and-a-half stars.

Among the big names today, Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) has had a belter, up 13.2% despite its HY23 earnings report showing an enormous drop in revenue.

That rapid decline is entirely  thanks to Sonic’s boom-time Covid-19 revenue stream drying up, now that we’re done panicking about catching the Creeping Death from someone on the bus.

So – that’s the bad news – but the good news (and the reason Sonic’s up as far as it is) is that its net profit for HY23 is “an amazing 50% higher than in the most recent pre-pandemic comparable period, being H1 FY 2020”, according to Sonic CEO, Dr Colin Goldschmidt.

Also doing well today was visual comms mob Orora (ASX:ORA), which is up 13.8% on the back of a reported sales revenue of $2,264.5 million (up 13.9%) and NPAT of $108.1 million (up 7.8%) for HY23.

On the other side of the vast body of water off Australia’s east coast which is full of disgusting things, like squid, microplastics and backpackers, Asian markets have performed quite well today, too.

In Japan, The Nikkei is up 0.73%, but that’s been overshadowed by a surge in Shanghai where things are 0.74% better, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng has added 2.1% over the course of the day so far.



News from the mining sector is currently focussed on two missing miners at Hong Kong-listed mining company MMG’s Dugald mine, 70km west of Cloncurry in Queensland.

The latest update is that the vehicle the two men were in when it fell 25m down a hole, some 125m below the surface at the mine site, has been located. However, the two men – named as Dylan Langridge and Trevor Davis – are yet to be found.

In Finance news, today’s unexpected rise in the January unemployment rate has helped settle the interest rate butterflies in the stomachs of investors, and – combined with some solid earnings reports from around the market – lifted overall market sentiment considerably from yesterday.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government’s decision to force coal miners to reserve thermal coal for the domestic market is doing the exact opposite of paying dividends for the Big Boys of Coal – New Hope (ASX:NHC) is down 4.8%, Yancoal (ASX:YAL) is down 3.3%, Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) is down 4.3% and the list keeps going.

Yancoal says that it’s done crunching the numbers, and under the new rules will be forced to set aside up to 395,000 tonnes of coal per quarter for domestic power generators.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
MRI My Rewards International 0.038 58% 280,321 $4,907,568
RVS Revasum 0.23 39% 1,507,191 $17,476,248
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.002 33% 1,745,737 $5,143,205
MAT Matsa Resources 0.048 30% 58,029,697 $15,244,171
GPR Geopacific Resources 0.025 25% 3,072,824 $10,423,822
MTL Mantle Minerals Ltd 0.0025 25% 896,681 $10,691,210
TGN Tungsten Min NL 0.11 22% 57,034 $70,777,284
GAS State GAS Limited 0.25 22% 321,734 $46,090,623
DCC Digitalx Limited 0.042 20% 3,288,780 $26,093,166
W2V Way2Vatltd 0.018 20% 255,384 $3,302,278
FOD The Food Revolution 0.03 20% 1,618,880 $23,669,042
PIL Peppermint Inv Ltd 0.006 20% 3,452,972 $10,189,284
WOO Wooboard Tech Ltd 0.006 20% 1,256,373 $1,149,774
RMY RMA Global 0.11 20% 917,278 $51,330,722
LIO Lion Energy Limited 0.043 19% 1,585,503 $15,339,968
BLZ Blaze Minerals Ltd 0.013 18% 818,110 $4,042,591
CSX Cleanspace Holdings 0.625 18% 62,195 $40,820,347
CMO Cosmo Metals 0.165 18% 20,000 $3,571,400
NNL Nordic Nickel 0.365 18% 101,632 $18,122,601
GFN Gefen Int 0.047 18% 124,460 $2,724,005
IMB Intelligent Monitor 0.17 17% 50,000 $18,951,543
KSN Kingston Resources 0.105 17% 567,594 $37,408,829
MHC Manhattan Corp Ltd 0.007 17% 1,617,682 $10,527,969
SCT Scout Security Ltd 0.028 17% 125,206 $5,533,732
AWJ Auric Mining 0.063 17% 1,265,180 $7,066,418
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Today’s winnerseses’ list is much the same as it was at lunchtime, thanks to a somewhat inexplicable surge in interest for Revasum (ASX:RVS), which jumped right to the top with a cry of “hoy-hup, lads!” to add 39% on absolutely no news at all.

Far more easily explained is Matsa Resources (ASX:MAT), climbing 30% after the digger told the market that it’s drilled into some very tasty intercepts at its Lake Carey gold project in WA’s northern Goldfields, which bode well for the company to achieve its goal of hitting the magic Million Ounce mark.

The results include:

  • 14m at 2.87g/t Au from 130m (23FNRC010)
  • 19m at 3.77g/t Au from 100m (23FNRC011) incl.
    • 14m at 4.59g/t from 100m
  • 16m at 1.44g/t Au from 88m (23FNRC012)
  • 4m at 3.32g/t Au from 110m (23FNRC013); and,
  • 11m at 1.21g/t Au from 67m (23FNRC014).

It’s little wonder that Matsa’s into the Good Stuff again – the Carey gold project has some solid nearology working wonders for the explorer, given that it’s sitting cheek-by-jowl among multi-million ounce monsters like the Sunrise Dam and Wallaby gold mines.

Outside of the penny dreadfuls (which we love, honest – but there’s lots of them and they move around too fast to be accurately counted when time is of the essence, deadlines are looming and this ceases to be journalism and becomes a string of run-on sentences that make less and less sense, the longer they go on) there are some late entries to the Top of the Pops.

Tungsten Mining (ASX:TGN) has risen sharply this afternoon, up 22% on relatively thin trade, while DigitalX (ASX:DCC) has benefited from the vagaries of a buoyant Thursday afternoon market to climb 20% following a surge of interest despite there being no news.



Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Code Company last % Volume Market Cap
WBE Whitebark Energy 0.001 -33% 22,556 $9,697,329
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0015 -25% 1,376,503 $31,285,147
CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.0045 -25% 89,874,077 $6,907,962
SRJ SRJ Technologies 0.12 -23% 20,328 $13,822,164
EGG Enero Group Ltd 2.3 -23% 694,305 $275,379,511
CAV Carnavale Resources 0.004 -20% 10,049,283 $13,667,759
LNU Linius Tech Limited 0.002 -20% 1,255,000 $7,836,032
TMZ Thomson Res Ltd 0.008 -20% 10,328,030 $8,699,510
PVS Pivotal Systems 0.02 -17% 1,248,383 $3,828,090
PVW PVW Res Ltd 0.115 -15% 98,131 $12,557,953
AMD Arrow Minerals 0.006 -14% 1,065,714 $17,736,356
L1M Lightning Minerals 0.185 -14% 741,796 $8,013,319
CVR Cavalier Resources 0.125 -14% 5,000 $4,408,587
AMP AMP Limited 1.1375 -13% 41,018,713 $3,986,513,434
NMR Native Mineral Res 0.068 -13% 117,818 $9,370,821
DGR DGR Global Ltd 0.048 -13% 27,083 $57,403,141
M2M Mt Malcolm Mines 0.055 -13% 195,929 $3,923,388
AYT Austin Metals Ltd 0.007 -13% 10,379 $8,126,997
GTG Genetic Technologies 0.0035 -13% 694,965 $46,166,633
RIM Rimfire Pacific 0.007 -13% 904,651 $14,449,958
LER Leaf Res Ltd 0.015 -12% 1,036,715 $30,770,661
BTE Botala Energy 0.115 -12% 21,674 $6,931,167
CMD Cassius Mining Ltd 0.031 -11% 427,725 $14,297,252
BME Black Mountain Energy 0.04 -11% 27,545 $2,475,000
UCM Uscom Limited 0.04 -11% 120,004 $8,938,615
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News we didn’t talk about anywhere else today includes (but is not limited to) Lion Energy’s (ASX:LIO) report that it has successfully achieved well re-entry during testing of the Lofin-2 gas well as part of the ongoing evaluation of the 1.5 TCF (2C) Lofin gas discovery in the Seram (Non-Bula) Production Sharing Contract – of which Lion holds a 2.5% interest.

Gas rates up to 14.8mmscfd were recorded on an 80/64” choke, which is the maximum choke size during this well clean-up phase of the testing program, the company says, adding that the water leg has been successfully isolated during this re-entry process by setting a cement plug – a trick that I might have to employ next time I have a big night on the cans.

Meanwhile, Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR) is happy to announce that the Spargoville 5A bulk sample has successfully delivered to Glencore’s Murrin Murrin Operations.

2,413 tonnes of high-grade transitional material was trucked to the site from late January to early February, and all elements were reportedly within the required metallurgical specifications to allow for processing of the bulk sample by MMO to begin in February, with pricing and final payments to be determined over March and April.

Still with Estrella, the company says a successful outcome to the bulk sample trial at MMO, which will pave the way for the completion of the 5A Definitive Feasability Study (DFS) which is currently well underway.

“The basis of the DFS involves a simple open-pit cut-back to access the very high-grade transitional massive sulphide material of which there is around 16,000t grading 7.8% Ni within the Measured Resource category, which will be blended with the matrix mineralisation and trucked to a third party,” the company reports.

And lastly biotech Alterity Therapeutics (ASX:ATH) has announced that it has been granted authorization to conduct its Phase-2 clinical trial for ATH434 in Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) by the Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Healthcare and the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicine and Health Products.

Multiple System Atrophy is a rare, highly-debilitating disorder related to Parkinson’s Disease.

“The regulatory approvals in France and Austria will allow us to expand our footprint in Europe and are another important step forward for our ATH434 development program,” said Alterity CEO, Dr David Stamler. “With the trial now open in five countries we are focused on providing access to our Phase 2 clinical trial for individuals living with MSA. We expect to open trial sites in France and Austria over the next few months.”



SRG Global (ASX:SRG) – Corporate transaction and an associated equity raising.

Okapi Resources (ASX:OKR) – Capital raising.

Orcoda (ASX:ODA) – Capital raising.

Wingara AG (ASX:WNR) – Partial company sale.

Fatfish Group (ASX:FFG) – Announcement pending concerning the “restricting of Asean Fintech Group”. I think that’s meant to say “restructuring”, though. We’ll find out when they announce something, I guess.

Truscott Mining (ASX:TRM) – Drilling results incoming from its Westminster project.